Not all watches are equal. Sometimes an hour is enough to handle a serious project, and at other times all you can do is send a couple of tired, insignificant emails.
Motivation experts, performance coaches, and managers believe finding and using peak hours is the key to improving productivity. If you follow a schedule that takes into account your most productive working hours, important projects will get as much energy as they deserve.
In this material — there is a plan that will help you rein in these hours of productivity.
Follow the (ultradian) rhythm
Like everything in nature, people are subject to cycles. A growing body of research on ultradian rhythms-90-120 — minute cycles that change over the course of a day-shows that our day is divided into cycles that affect how attentive and productive we are.
At the beginning of the cycle, we feel a surge of energy and increased concentration, and at the end we may feel distracted and tired. Will your computer freeze if you open a million tabs in your browser? You probably periodically fall into the same energy depression.
The title "workaholic" may sound impressive, but in fact productivity drops as soon as you hit the 50-hour-a-week mark. Thus, from the point of view of result it is better to work in the most efficient watch, than just working longer. Great news, isn't it?
Use your peak time, when you are attentive and inspired, for projects that involve problem solving, complex thinking, and critical decisions.
If you are working on all this while in an energy pit, you will have to fight with your tired brain, and the project will take much longer (not to mention it will be more painful).
Routine, non-essential, and less complex tasks can be completed even when you are not focused or engaged. You can go to the weekly meeting even when you are sleepy (just keep your eyes open).
By knowing exactly when to expect the next energy surge, you can be more confident that you can achieve your goals for the day.
Self-employed professionals, who, according to some estimates, will make up 40% of the entire workforce by 2020, can choose what hours to work. Also, many companies now offer their employees flexible hours and options for working from home. This means that millions of workers now have the opportunity to work at a time when they feel attentive, inspired, and productive.
All this raises a legitimate question: how do I find out my most productive hours?
You can, of course, rely on intuition and knowing whether you are a lark or an owl to determine peak hours, but it is better to use a systematic approach.
It is often found that concentration, energy, and motivation are strongly related, and this is natural. However, sometimes you may find that these indicators do not go hand in hand. For example, the energy is equal to ten, but you have problems with concentration. In this case, pay attention to the reason for this deviation — maybe you drank too many cups of coffee?
In addition to daily notes, you can also add comments to cells when using a spreadsheet. This is convenient to mark the time when you were drinking coffee, eating lunch, exercising, or doing something else that could affect your energy flow. Communicating with a loved one or playing with a pet also applies to this.
Use your peak time carefully. You need to solve problems, get answers, and make decisions in the most productive hours. Writing, deep thought processes, and strategizing are easier when you are focused and attentive. These actions are a longer sprint, so you need serious concentration to achieve victory.
Protect your peak time against the encroachments and liabilities that do not require the full power of the brain, in so far as it allows your working environment.
Ask ourselves: "What makes me more productive? What activities, foods, or even people are draining my energy?» Then apply this knowledge, even if it means saying goodbye to pepperoni pizza for lunch.
Keep in mind that sometimes performance slumps are just our body's natural way of saying, "Hey, I need a break." Don't expect to get rid of the energy pits completely. However, by knowing this and working at the most appropriate time, you can make your day more enjoyable and productive.
Choose the best time to go to bed and when to Wake up. Try breaking your sleep into cycles that will last 90 minutes. This will look something like this: 1.5 hours > 3 hours > 4.5 hours > 6 hours
Have you ever felt that after eleven hours of sleep you still felt sleepy? Because you woke up in the middle of a cycle.
Or how did you feel refreshed and energized after three hours of sleep? Again, cycles.
Having developed the habit of waking up early, you can spend several hours on yourself and your goals. Here are some tips on how to do this:
Go to bed at the same time
Gradually Wake up earlier (If you now Wake up at eight in the morning, but want to at six, start at 7: 50, then-7: 40 and continue in the same spirit until you achieve the desired result)
Use "dead time" to your advantage
Dead time is time spent on activities that do not require serious mental effort. These include, for example, shopping for groceries or working out at the gym. Try to do something else useful at such times. For example, listen to audiobooks, podcasts, and practice languages in Duolingo or Memrise.
Think of a morning ritual
An effective morning ritual is a great way to start your day. It should consist of the most useful activities that will help you achieve your goals.
For example, if you want to start a blog, you must write at least one article a week. Try writing something every morning for 30-60 minutes. Here are some tips for making your morning ritual even more effective:
Your body has just gone through six to eight hours without water. Give him a chance to recover.
Do something good
Do something that you will be proud of – for example, make your bed.
It is best to start the day with charging.
Delegate, eliminate, or automate tasks
We usually think we can do it ourselves. Find among all your tasks those that do not bring any benefit. Choose which of them you can delegate to someone else. Consider whether you can remove some cases from your list or automate them.
For example, Zdravko Cvijetic every day spend at least two hours cooking. He decided to save this time and began ordering delivery from restaurants. With those two hours free, he could do useful things that would help him achieve his goals in the future.
Block time or "schedule a meeting with yourself"
Spend time alone with yourself and make sure that you are not disturbed at such times. Use this opportunity to focus on actions that will help you achieve your future goals.
Divide your work into periods
This is quite interesting advice. You can use the "Tomato" method. The technique involves splitting tasks into 25-minute periods, followed by short breaks. This will help you maximize your productivity and avoid burning out.
Log in to the stream
Flow is the time when you are fully engaged in the task and one hundred percent focused. It is very important to understand what you are working on and that this will help you achieve your goals in the future. Tip: one of the best ways to enter the stream is to find the right music.
Daytime sleep is important
Of course, after completing a serious task, you will need to rest. In this case, find a quiet corner in the office or at home and close your eyes. It is not necessary to fall asleep, just let your body relax.
Don't worry if things don't go according to plan
Even if you become an expert in time management, you will still face unforeseen circumstances. Usually it won't be up to you. If someone is late for a meeting with you, first exhale. Take this moment to read a book or listen to a podcast.
Keep track of what you spend your time on
Keep track of your main activities throughout the week, and then evaluate their importance. This way you can see the reasons for inefficiency and fix it next time.
Evaluate your results
Once a week, take thirty minutes to evaluate your current results. What was productive? Focus more on this. What was ineffective? Delegate it, eliminate it, or automate it.
Say no to email until you're done with your morning ritual
Don't check your email more than twice a day.
Say no to things that don't match your goals
It is very important to learn to say "no" and thus make your life easier. Remember: you don't say no to others, you say Yes to yourself.
Your life should not be planned until the last minute. After a productive week, relax.
Develop a nighttime ritual
You've had a very productive day. It's time for you to rest. Think about what was pleasant or good during the day.
It may take you several years to develop these habits, but believe me, the results will be staggering. You must understand that you will not return the time spent, so live every day as productively as possible. Of course, you will not be able to follow all these tips perfectly and you should not strive for it.